The werewolves of Congress are loose and hungry for partisan flesh. Just in time for Halloween, Congress turned itself into a bizarre Carnival of Horrors, commandeered by Tea Party hobgoblins and House Speaker Boehner (whose name even sounds scary).
The Affordable Care Act has been their sideshow in the U.S. House of Mirrors, distorted beyond recognition. But this has not been any ordinary trick or treat. Taxpayers are left holding the (empty) bag, as cobwebs grow in our beloved national parks and promising legislation is left for dead.
Florida has its share of elective zombies that seem to have wandered out of the primordial Everglades stew and straight into the halls of power. Some seem harmless enough, as they rattle chains and levitate to higher office. Others are complete nightmares.
But like us ordinary mortals, even our spooky pols need advice on how to dress when they head out to Halloween soirees in Tallahassee and Tampa Bay. So, as a public service, we offer the following costume suggestions — and to save the politicians the wear and tear of posing as someone else, we’ve chosen personae for them that are eerily close to their own.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott: Alien
Like the Alien of movie fame, which fanged hapless victims when it was not hiding out in Sigourney Weaver’s chest cavity, Gov. Rick Scott exults in chewing the heads off mild-mannered public initiatives, pausing only to flash a toothy smile for a photo op. Scott throttles these programs with a gleefulness that makes other politicians seem, well, human.
• $2.4 billion in federal grants for high-speed rail? Gone!
• $50 million for a coast-to-coast bike trail? Forget it!
• Emergency aid to feed poor infants? You’ve got to be kidding!
With Scott enforcing voter purges, he may very well live on to make a sequel, just like his Alien counterpart. Would it really be surprising if he won? Like the movie monster, Scott has a resilience that frankly is lacking in our middle class today, which just needs to shut up, buck up and quit complaining about working longer for less pay. Listen people: Only something like 1 percent of us will ever get to be 1 percenters. The rest will have to gamble on Scratch-Offs at Walmart.
Attorney General Pam Bondi: Marie Antoinette
Pam Bondi was crowned Queen of Mean when she delayed a Florida death row execution that conflicted with her social schedule, specifically a Tampa cocktail fundraiser at a private waterfront home. A snafu of this magnitude might send other politicians into serious spin control, but not AG Bondi. She acted with a steely efficiency that brings to mind another fair-haired party girl of the ruling class — Marie Antoinette.
Queen Marie became infamous for refusing to let the hungry French masses and the sight of long bread lines spoil her good time. Marie Antoinette Bondi was able to throw the party, get a good night’s sleep, and later throw the switch on Old Sparky.
Scary? Nah. Bondi was only thinking of the comfort of her party guests.
“Let them eat key lime pie!”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: The Great Pumpkin
Just like the Great Pumpkin, Sen. Marco Rubio’s super-sized ego keeps growing, which leaves us wondering: Is there room for anyone else in the Rubio pumpkin patch? Rubio is not just a Great Pumpkin. He is the Pumpking of Politics, a veritable royal among the elective gourds in Congress.
This is a guy who met his future wife at a soapy South Beach foam party, whose closest aides in the Legislature were dubbed Marco’s “apostles” for their skinned-knee fealty, and who embarked on a cross-country, rock star-style bus tour after publishing his first book. Rubio’s complete lack of self-awareness can indeed seem frightening.
Gov. Charlie Crist: Ghost
Former Gov. Charlie Crist has haunted Florida politics ever since he lost the U.S. Senate race to Marco Rubio in 2010. Like Patrick Swayze in Ghost, unable to communicate to the living about his future political plans, he instead relies on soothsayers to get his message out.
With adoration strong since he left elective office, Crist does not so much open doors as walk through them. He upstaged the Republican National Convention without even showing up. Floating above the fray, he tweeted his switch to Democrat in December 2012.
Yet this sylph of Florida politics has caused some to question his political beliefs and wonder if the glow will fade as fast as a bottled tan.
Jeb Bush: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
Gov. Jeb Bush is the good ’ol boy of Florida politics. But just like Ghostbusters’ Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who was big and cute in his sailor suit but capable of major destruction, Bush could do a lot of damage to the dreams of smaller, weaker politicians. Underneath the white fluff, Stay Puft was a schemer, calculating to take over the world. If Jeb Bush decides to run for president in 2016, will the GOP tent prove big enough to fit the Marshmallow Man and his constituents?
Rick Baker: The Walking Dead
Rick Baker is a nightmare for all the St. Petersburg mayors who will succeed him. Although the former St. Petersburg mayor seems to have put city politics behind him, WWRBD (“What would Rick Baker do?”) is never far from the lips of ’Burg leaders. Baker is a zombie politician who can rattle Council Chairs, open doors and levitate private business deals. He even haunts local elections, with Foster courting his appearance at a recent Midtown press conference and mayoral challenger Rick Kriseman complaining that Foster is no Rick Baker. Yet Baker’s greatest achievement is also his inferno. Like other undead in need of an eternal nap, Baker seems forever conscripted by a city that refuses to let his memory die.